I must admit at first I was unsure whether to get this book or not as sometimes these 'what if.....?' books are simply awful. I am happy though that I got this one in the end as it is a great read. The title of this book tells you exactly what to expect. Apparently the author got the inspiration from a piece of research where a midwife claimed that she had delivered Elizabeth's child. There are still rumours abounding about whether Elizabeth was a virgin and whether she did have a child, especially due to all the gossip there was about Thomas Seymour, Katherine Parr's last husband frolicking with the young princess.
Supposing Elizabeth did have a child at a young age, such a child would have been killed if it survived the birth - but if it managed to live? Elinor de Lacey, or Nell as most call her, is very different from her parents and has flaming red hair. When she works at court she not only has to deal with the intrigues that go on around her, but also has to contend with what she finds out about herself. Could Nell be the Queen's illegitimate daughter? In a world where you can be a Queen's favourite one day, and in the Tower the next, Nell finds that wheels turn within wheels, as her very life could be in danger. You also don't want Walsingham paying attention to you.
Full of intrigue, some romance and seamlessly blending fact with fiction this book is slow to start but gradually pulls you in and holds you throughout. This is well worth reading if you like historical novels, or if you just like something that is full of intrigue.
on 8 June 2013
Don't be put off by the cheesy title and premise (what if Elizabeth I's rumoured teenage dalliance with her stepmother's husband had resulted in a child?) because this is surprisingly well done. The cover might give you a clue: far more tasteful than what you usually get (21st century fashion model, face obscured, wearing a push-up bra under a gold-decorated fancy dress costume) on the front of more run-of-the-mill historical chick-lit, this woman could actually have stepped out of the pages of the book.
Once you've decided to go with the premise, the author unravels its consequences very well: both plot and characters are believable and the period detail is good. There's a well-rounded protagonist, Nell de Lacey, whose virtues and faults are very convincing, and it's as authentic-seeming a depiction of the Queen and her court as I've ever come across in a novel.
And all too often, in books like this, the introduction of real characters like Cecil, Walsingham and Dr John Dee can be clunky and distracting, but this author has mixed them in seamlessly with the fictional characters so it adds to the plausibility of the story. She also gives us some very real and touching portrayals of different types of mother/daughter relationship throughout.
It's not quite a five star read for me - there are rather too many Americanisms in the dialogue, and I wasn't quite convinced by either the hero or the neat ending.
But if you're looking for something new, and you like historical novels of the romantic but well researched type, then I'd certainly recommend this one. Especially if you've grown tired of authors like Alison Weir and Philippa Gregory, both - in my opinion - scraping away at the bottom of their respective barrels these days. Ella March Chase (who I'd never heard of before I came across this novel) has made an excellent job of what, in other hands, could have been a hackneyed and overblown tale.
A thoroughly enjoyable novel which has intrigue , romance and mystery and historical elements.
Seen through the eyes of Elinor de Lacey the newest lady in waiting to Queen Elizabeth I the novel focuses around the tale that Elizabeth had a secret daughter whilst in the care of her stepmother Katherine Parr , and of what supposedly happened after the daughter was taken to be murdered to maintain Elizabeths innocence and chastity .
Elinor is brought up in a countryside estate - being spoiled and educated in politics and books by her father who always felt that a woman should have education, not just beauty and fine gowns.
After her father dies Elinor is offered a place in Elizabeths court and the book describes the life in Court: the clothes the food and feasts and visiting various houses, and the intrigue and life of a lady in waiting to a difficult woman who can one minute be debating in Greek and the next signing death warrants to ensure she rules with fear .
The likeness between Elinor and Elizabeth is striking as is their intellect and personality and it is not long before the truth comes out and suspicions are aroused.
The tale has excellent twists and turns and romance and thrills, with mentions made of genuine historical characters and events ends very well although not as expected, it kept me occupied and I found it a very enjoyable read.
This is a well written and intriguing book. Definitely a different take on a Tudor story than I had perhaps expected.....going along the "what if?" scenario......does make you think a bit and could that have happened?? I have to confess that it took me a bit to get into the story and my immediate reaction of no way that just would have happened attitude, then I tried to open my mind to it all and quite frankly did get lost in it all and thoroughly enjoyed the book. I would really recommend this to anyone who enjoys a historical read especially tudor times, but be prepared to take a different look at things!
The Virgin Queen's Daughter by Ella March Chase is a book which I highly recommend to all lovers of historical fiction. I personally think if you like authors such as Phillipa Gregory you would enjoy this book on the condition you do not mind an author taking a historical 'rumour' and mixing with historical facts and mixing showing the outcome as a very good work of historical fiction which I found to be very interesting.
Nell de Lacey who was the main character of the book and she clearly loved the Queen and all she wanted to do was serve her but she could not understand why her mother was so against this. After the death of her father who she adored, she got her wish and went to serve the Queen as a Lady in Waiting though this was done without the full blessing of her mother. Nell did not realise her mother had her own reasons to fear Nell going to serve as a Lady in Waiting, and those fears were very real. Nell thought that her mother was only being awkward as they had not had a very close relationship but as you read the book this will all become clear and history will soon become known to Nell and because of this history Nell will soon fear for her life and not only her own life but the lives of those she loved.
The author wrote a book which was not only filled with passion, fear, jealousy and every other kind of feeling in-between she wrote a book which showed life's pattern in the Royal Palaces of Queen ELizabeth 1 and the eras which surrounded her reign on the throne. For those that lived in the royal household they lived according to the Queen's orders which at times I found them totally bizarre. I loved to learn about the clothes which was worn and the fashions available around this time, and how they lived in the general day to day running of the Royal palaces when Queen Elizabeth1 was in power in the later years of the 16th century. Queen Elizabeth 1 really ruled her kingdom with a heart of a lion, I do not think that any man could have been stronger than she but with so much strength within her head and heart she held so much fear because though she had so many people serving her she did not know who she could trust fully. She also was very superstitious along with those around her and these were also fascinating to read about.
The author while she was researching for her writing she came across some research which stated that a mid-wife said that she attended a fair haired lady and that she had a baby girl, the mid-wife went unto state that that fair-haired lady was Queen Elizabeth 1. It was a really interesting storyline to use to build the book around and the author took the rumour and wrote a book which I really enjoyed reading so much that I could not put it down as each turn of the page I was shown a life which I could never have dreamed off and while the author used facts with fiction there was so much action in it throughout I just could not wait to see what happens next.
We are told Nell's story through her own memories and the author really showed what she went through while living in the royal households and how her dreams which she cherished all her life to serve the Queen turned into nightmares mainly because of rumours about her real parentage but mainly were rumours encouraged further by the colour of her hair.
The Virgin Queen's Daughter by Ella March Chase is a book which I highly recommend to all readers who like to read historical fiction which is mixed with historical facts and is so well written as I read the book I began to question which was the facts and which was the fiction elements of the book. Ella March Chase successfully showed Queen ELizabeth 1 as a woman who ruled her kingdom with a fist of iron but she still had weak spots which her enemies knew how to use against her. Throughout the book the writer had her at times vulnerable she was terrified to show weakness at any times and unfortunately could not trust those around her but also a woman she was capable of jealous rages which could have led to the death of those around her.
I have read many novels set in the Tudor period, but this for me (anyway) has probably been one of the best ones so far. You can feel the Author's love of the time period in her attention to detail in her story.
It is told through the eyes of the Young woman Nell De Lacey and starts in her present situation where she is locked in a cell in the tower of London and back traces the events that led to her current predicament.
She meets the young woman Elizabeth Tudor, when she herself is only five years old and it is a meeting that has future consequences and slowly unravels her relationship between herself and the now Queen in her present.
Nell comes to court as a young and sharp minded lady in waiting to the Queen, where she makes an impression on a handsome but jaded courtier, Sir Gabriel Wyatt, nicknamed the Gypsy's Angel. Many have warned her not to be taken in by him as he as a fearful reputation as a womaniser and someone to not cross swords with. Both Nell and Gabriel are fictional characters, and so are some of the others, but they are placed in the Tudor life as if they truly belonged there, interacting with such real life people like Mary Grey, Queen Elizabeth and Walsingham, but to name a few. Really enjoyed the book and intend to read more of her stuff.
When Elinor de Lacey defies her mother to go to the court of Queen Elizabeth, she is not aware that there is a mystery surrounding her own birth. However she is soon caught up in court intrigue and danger as Elizabeth tries to uncover the truth about this unusual member of her household.
With a feisty heroine, a 'bad-boy' love interest and some fairly dodgy hypothetical history, this book could easily have sunk without trace as another piece of historical romance fluff. However, it is raised above the average by the standard of the writing (despite occasional Americanisms) and by some good characterisation. We see the nastier side of Elizabeth - she really is Henry's cub in this book - and get a feel for the constant insecurity of the courtiers whose positions and wealth are entirely dependant on the Queen's whim. But we are also shown the loneliness of a monarch who, were she to marry, would become subordinate to her husband.
This is not the type of book I would usually read at all but I was drawn into the story and found it an enjoyable read. There is romance here, but there are also elements of danger and suspense. Recommended.
Have to be honest and say that I read very little historical/romantic fiction but; being crazy for most things Tudor I thought I'd give "The Virgin Queen's Daughter" a chance and, surprised myself by enjoying it more than expected. I like the concept of a "mysterious" child who may, or may not, be the birth child of the magnificent Queen Elizabeth 1 and the fact that there's another puzzle, a different mystery, running through the plot really kept the pages turning. Definitely not a "bodice ripper" and written in an intelligent style that might appear a little dry if you're after a really naughty "Tudor" romp but; the plot's strong and there's plenty of intrique to carry you along. I very much enjoyed the character of Nell de Lacey and found all of the Elizabeathan history running through the background highly believable. Not necessarily easy to read, there's a lot going on, but I finished the novel quickly, didn't find myself bored by it and would certainly read Ella March Chase's work again in the future.
This is almost a book of two parts. It is fictional but based around the Elizabethan court. A young maid arrives at court bearing a resemblance to Queen Elizabeth. This is the story of how she negotiates through the perils of court life. At first I found it dull and laborious to read with even known historical characters seeming uninteresting and dull. Suddenly however my interest was captured and I found I was desperate to turn the pages. The unpredictable Elizabeth, the dark and sinister Walsingham and the charming Dudley seemed to leap from the pages. Kat Ashley and Mary Gray were ever court presences. The fictional characters of Nell and Gabriel held me spellbound and the fate of them really caught my imagination. I loved them. Although fictional the book really seemed believable and is well worth a read.
This novel, as you can guess from the title, is based on the idea that Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen, may have had a daughter. Although there's no real evidence to support this claim, it was apparently rumoured that Elizabeth, as a young princess, had secretly given birth to an illegitimate child who might have been fathered by Thomas Seymour, her stepmother Katherine Parr's husband. Elizabeth was also linked throughout her life with Robert Dudley and so another theory is that he could have been the baby's father.
The Virgin Queen's Daughter is narrated by Elinor de Lacey (Nell), Elizabeth's newest lady-in-waiting, a young woman who shares Elizabeth's hair colour and love of books and learning. Nell was brought up in the countryside by John and Thomasin de Lacey, believing them to be her parents, but after her arrival at court she begins to make some discoveries about her past. Could Nell be Elizabeth's secret daughter?
If you've read lots of Tudor fiction I'm not sure The Virgin Queen's Daughter offers anything very new, but although I've read quite a few Tudor novels I'm not at the point where I'm bored with the period yet and so I really enjoyed this book. Although I find it hard to believe that someone in Elizabeth's position could have concealed the fact that she was pregnant and kept the birth of her child a secret, I still thought it was an interesting subject for a historical fiction novel.
Many of the famous names of the Tudor/Elizabethan period are here: as well as Elizabeth I herself, there's Robert Dudley, the "spymaster" Francis Walsingham, the mathematician and astrologer John Dee, Elizabeth's beloved governess Kat Ashley, and several of the Queen's ladies - Lettice Knollys, Isabella Markham and Mary Grey (sister of Lady Jane Grey). But the strongest characters in the book are the fictional ones: Nell de Lacey and one of the noblemen she meets at court, Sir Gabriel Wyatt. Nell is an interesting and intelligent narrator - like the Queen she enjoys reading and studying, things women were not usually encouraged to do at that time. And Gabriel was such a great character I was a bit disappointed that he didn't really exist!
I thought Ella March Chase did a good job of portraying the intrigue and danger of life at court, where you never knew who could and could not be trusted, and where anyone believed to be a threat to the Queen could find themselves locked in the Tower. And with two of the main characters being fictional, the author could take their story in some unexpected directions, which added plenty of tension and suspense to the novel.
The Virgin Queen's Daughter doesn't really stand out from other historical fiction novels of this type, but overall it was a fun and entertaining read which I would recommend to fans of Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir or Karen Harper.